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Our Team

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Zoar Outdoor was established in 1989 to offer outdoor adventures in the Deerfield River Valley and beyond. Our staff of over 100 consists of friendly professionals from all walks of life ranging in age from 18 – 65 years.

Many of our staff are cross-trained in several areas, enabling them to work as a raft guide, kayak instructor or climbing teacher. It is not uncommon to find a high school math teacher, a nurse or a lawyer guiding one of our rafts or teaching in a kayak. The versatility of our team members allows our staff to provide excellent service to our guests and to make each Zoar Outdoor adventure truly memorable.

Janet Burnett Cowie – Director of Paddlesport Programs

Janet Burnett Cowie

Director of Paddlesport Programs

Janet oversees our Outfitters Shop and instruction programs including whitewater kayaking, canoeing, and rock climbing. She is also our logistics guru for food services and vehicles. Since 1996, Janet’s people skills and expertise have helped grow our paddling school into one of the premier kayak programs in the country. Janet has been whitewater paddling since 1983 when she joined the University of Massachusetts Outing Club.

Janet is an ACA Level 4 Whitewater Kayak Instructor-Trainer Educator, Level 4 River Canoe Instructor/Level 3 River Canoe Instructor Trainer and Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Instructor. In 2011 Janet received ACA’s Excellence in Instruction Award. She helped to organize the first Whitewater Symposium at Zoar Outdoor in 2003 and again in 2009, and continues to be involved with the Whitewater Symposium movement. She received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts.

Meghan Ecclesine – Zip Line Canopy Tour Manager

Meghan Ecclesine

Zip Line Canopy Tour Manager

Meghan has years of experience working in customer service and the outdoor industry and we love having her a part of our Zoar family! In Meghan’s spare time, she enjoys listening to podcasts, snowboarding, and dazzling our community with her creativity. (She’s known as our area’s local doodle artist!) Swing by our Zip base. Meghan will be excited to meet you!

Jacqui Proctor – Sales & Marketing Manager

Jacqui Proctor

Sales and Marketing Manager

Jacqui comes from years of sales and marketing experience from working in the art world. She is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, but quickly fell in love with Western Massachusetts. In her spare time, she loves creating artwork, strumming away on her Ukulele, playing outside. Jacqui also loves taking on the class III and IV rapids on our Dryway trip! Give our office a call, there’s a high percentage you’ll speak with Jacqui and she’s always up to help you plan your next adventure!

Brian Pytko – Rafting Manager

Brian Pytko

Director of Rafting Programs

A former high school social studies teacher and baseball coach, Brian started rafting with Zoar Outdoor back in 2000, and took over the Rafting Manager responsibilities in 2009. Forever a teacher at heart, Brian oversees new guide training and development, is an ACA swift water rescue instructor, and even does a little snowboard instructing during the off-season. Brian’s Wilderness First Responder Certification, intuitive river sense, dedication to customer service, and uncanny attention to detail ensures that Zoar’s rafting trips and guided kayaking trips run smoothly and safely.

Jim Sullivan – Paddlesports Manager

Jim Sullivan

Paddlesports Manager

Jim has been paddling the rivers of New England since learning to kayak as a teen near Springfield, Massachusetts. He is an avid river runner, playboater and all around paddler and has run every rapid on the Dryway on a standup paddleboard (upright) at least once! He works closely with Janet Cowie providing leadership in our Paddlesports programs.

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Want to be a part of our team?